Letter: Preserve our drinking water

Thank you for the article in The Advocate Feb. 28 by reporter Amy Wold, on Page 5B, titled “Task force struggles to form vast water plan.”

Here in the Baton Rouge area the biggest users of ground water are the Georgia Pacific Paper Mill at Port Hudson, just north of Baton Rouge; Exxon, which operates more than a dozen major facilities, such as their oil refinery and chemical plant on Scenic Highway; and the Baton Rouge Water Company, which provides drinking water to a few hundred thousand people who live and work here.

Officials at the Baton Rouge Water Company can do more to work with their largest users to find ways to reduce their water usages, and they must do more to educate all of the people in Baton Rouge to conserve our valuable and extremely threatened drinking water supply.

The Georgia Pacific Paper Mill uses millions of gallons of ground water to spray logs which are stacked up next to the paper mill.

Our exceptional ground water should not be used to keep logs wet.

The Georgia Pacific Paper Mill and the Exxon Oil Refinery are part of very large international, multibillion-dollar corporations which can and must do a better job of using, protecting and restoring our ground water.

The Louisiana Water Resources Task Force and officials in all state agencies can and must get together and work in a focused way and start doing the job of making sure that our valuable natural resources are not squandered away and unavailable for the future uses needed by people who live and work here.

Most of the rivers and streams in the state, such as Bayou Manchac, are polluted and do not meet their designated uses for fishing and swimming.

Ground water resources across the state have been overused by paper mills, petrochemical facilities and the oil and natural gas industries.

All officials in the state must look at Article 9, Section 1 of the Louisiana Constitution which states that:

“The natural resources of the state, including air and water … shall be protected, conserved, and replenished insofar as possible and consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of the people. The legislature shall enact laws to implement this policy.”

William A. Fontenot

retired state employee

Baton Rouge